LESLIE CRISS: Mixed mutts like George grateful to Westminster folks

“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too.”

Samuel Butler

“In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag.”

W.H. Auden



In years past when Thom and Sally have taken charge of the remote to watch the Westminster Kennel Club’s dog show, George has quickly left the room.

I hesitate to say the Chihuahua and the pug who live at my house harbor no hurtful intentions toward their mongrel brother when they do this. But George, bless his heart, feels snubbed anyway.

Though there are no papers for proof, Thom and Sally possess a pedigree. So they watch other pompous pets strut their stuff for the judges and live vicariously through the prize winners at Madison Square Garden each year.

As the couch canines glory in their undiluted genealogy, I toss the tennis ball for George. And he fetches it every time. It matters not one whit that he’s not from the blood-line of Stan Musial or Hank Aaron. He’s the best canine outfielder I know.

Well, it’s nearly time for this year’s WKC dog show, and for the first time since the 1800s, mixed-breed mutts like George are being allowed to take part in a new agility competition.

The pups with papers will also take part in the agility program. But members of Westminster have agreed to open the competition to “all-American dogs.” Like George.

I turned the television up last week so all three dogs could hear the story about there being room for all manner of canines in part of this year’s dog show.

George, however, prefers his news in print, so I found the story in the newspaper and read it to him.

I am not 100 percent certain, but after he heard the news that the WKC folks are extending this long-overdue invitation to Everydog, George seemed to smile smugly at his siblings.

If I had any doubts, they were dissolved when watching television the other night and there was a commercial for the upcoming dog show.

The commercial was just letting folks know the particulars: The agility competition will be sort of a preliminary to the two-day finals, which will be 7 until 10 p.m. on CNBC Monday, Feb. 10 and on USA Network Tuesday, Feb. 11.

The agility part of the dog show will be on Fox Sports 1 on Saturday, Feb. 8.

Since hearing the news about the WKC’s opting to dance with diversity this year in at least a portion of their big show, Thom has been a bit standoffish toward his brother. Sally, the sweeter of the two purebreds, has sidled up close to George as if to say she’s happy his type will be included.

George has taken it all in stride.

Still, he runs a little faster.

Stands a little taller.

Just because he’s included.


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